How Not To Suck At Photography – Part One
Shamil Ahmed, an ex-sucky freelance photographer, now a not-so sucky freelance photographer is here with quick tips on how you can take photographs like a boss.
Whatever type of camera you have, whether its a DSLR, a smartphone or what-not, you have the ability to be an epic photographer. Whether you are a beginner, or a veteran (who just ‘forgot’), let me bring you up to speed:
1. BE FREE, MY BUTTERFLY
The best way to actually get good at photography is (simply put) to just take photos.
Practice, practice and practice my dear. You will find that those dynamic upside-down photos you used to take actually look weird, and those simple artistic eye-level ones you take actually rock.
Keep your camera/smartphone always with you, at all times wherever you go.
Take photos of whatever you think looks cool (everything), and don’t ever be ashamed, shy or think that you’ll take a shot of a certain something later, ‘live in the now’, or you might just miss that beautiful shot, believe me, I’VE MISSED LOADS OF CHANCES (sad face).
Here is a chance I didn’t miss. At five in the morning, the sun was gleaming through my window during its rise, and I woke up to witness this. Instead of being lazy (like usual) I got up, grabbed my camera and captured this moment. I’m glad that I did. It would haunt me forever if I didn’t.
2. ITS NOT THE SIZE THAT MATTERS, ITS WHAT YOU DO WITH IT
Dude, no matter what sort of image capturing device you have, you can take really good photos.
Hey, don’t get me wrong…having a gazillion pound camera/lens can help, but it’s no good if the photographer doesn’t know what to do with it.
Master your settings, know your environment, set up your shot, and work it. You can do so much with your phone, even better than what some can do with a camera.
(Yes, that was taken on a smartphone).
3. IT’S ALIVE
If you think your photos aren’t coming out so great, don’t sweat it, all hope is not lost… editing will save you.
You can make the perfect moment that you captured, but wasn’t captured just right, look just the way you wanted it to.
When taking photos in a situation under pressure (eg an event), some of them can go sour. Do not bring yourself down. With editing, you can have your second wind.
Photoshop and Lightroom can be expensive, but fear not, there’s plenty of awesome (free) software online that does a great job too:
On smartphones there’s awesome apps out there too. Here’s a list I prepared earlier (they’re free, woohoo!):
4. Simple and Clean
Remember, photography is an art, so be effective and efficient in your shot, make the shot do the talking, not your editing.
Following on the point of editing, sometimes (99% of the time) a simple and clear shot says a lot more than a complex shot could ever do. Sometimes editing isn’t necessary at all, even when you think you need it.
‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’
Like with writing, film-making and a whole load of other things, ultimately, you are your own worst enemy and critic. So be easy on yourself and put your feet in the audience’s shoes time to time and get a feel for your hard work.
Direct your audiences eyes onto a single object or person. You are capturing a moment, not an image, not an action, a moment. Make the audience see and feel what you saw when you felt you had to capture that exact moment. Always ask yourself ‘why does someone else need to see this?’
5. It’s Not That Easy Being ME
Photography for a lot of us isn’t something we can just pick up and do. It gets frustrating, and that’s normal.
There will be days where you are just off, learn from it. Think about what you could do differently, photography can be a very time consuming thing.
Consider warming up, knowing your setting and your camera, what you can change about your environment or even just being a friendly person and asking people to pose for a photo (you won’t believe how often that works). There’s so many little things that you can alter or work with, and I think that is the beauty of photography.
You have your own style, or you may be yet to find it, but it is awesome. So continue to be unique, and with these teeny tips I hope you now have the skills, drive and tools to kick butt in the world of photography. You are now officially (even more) epic.
Do you have any more tips to add to this list? Was it helpful? Do you want to show us some of your new epic photographs (of course you do), tweet/follow (on twitter) or tag us (on instagram): @rifemag